In 1989, T. B. Joshua allegedly fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. He wrote that in a heavenly vision, he had received divine anointing and a covenant from God to start his ministry. Following this, Joshua founded the ministry organisation The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) initially with only a handful of members. According to the organisation, more than 15,000 members now attend its weekly Sunday service; visitors from outside Nigeria are accommodated free of cost in the accommodation blocks constructed at the church.
Controversy over claims of miracles and healing
SCOAN remains controversial both in Nigeria and abroad, claiming regular occurrences of divine miracles. Several hundred Nigerians and international visitors come to the SCOAN each week to register for the prayer lines where the visitors are prayed over by T.B. Joshua and the "Wise Men". SCOAN has published numerous videos claiming to document the healing of incurable disabilities and illnesses such as spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDs and cancer. Notable sportspersons who claim to have been healed of sporting injuries at the SCOAN include South African rugby players Jaco van der Westhuizen and Jaco du Preeze, and Nigerian footballer Joseph Yobo. In November 2011, Pastors from the church were caught on camera claiming to have healed people with HIV/AIDS and recommending that they stop taking life-saving antiretroviral medications. Following the publication of this report, T.B. Joshua stated shortly thereafter that he fully supports medical science and the standard treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Spiritual healing at The SCOAN has been mentioned by Time magazine. Since June 2010, five "Wise Men" have joined in ministering to people at The SCOAN, purportedly able to prophesy, heal and deliver in the same vein as T.B. Joshua. The church has branches in Ghana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Greece.
Cameroonian government blacklist
In May 2012, Cameroon Foreign Affairs minister, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, in an official communiqué titled "The Devil Is In the House", described TB Joshua as a “son of the devil” pretending to be “a man of God”.
Another Ministry is the humanitarian arm of SCOAN, with the stated aim of undertaking projects catering to the needs of widows, dwarfs,the elderly, physically challenged, orphans and the destitute. The church provides scholarships to orphans and children of the underprivileged, with educational support given from primary to tertiary levels. There is also a rehabilitation programme for armed robbers, prostitutes and militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region. He is also well known in Nigeria for reconciling broken families and marriages. SCOAN has established various NGOs in other countries, including the Passion For Needy in Ghana. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called 'Clinique Emmanuel'. A Forbes blogger estimated Joshua has spent $20m on humanitarian activities in the last three years. In recognition of his humanitarian activities, he was awarded a National Honour by the Nigerian government in 2008.
In 2009 T.B. Joshua started a football club, My People FC as part of efforts to help the youth. Two members of the team played for Nigeria's Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Sani Emmanuel, who apparently lived in The SCOAN for several years, was Nigeria's top-scorer and the tournament's MVP. Emmanuel and his colleague Ogenyi Onazi have now signed professional contracts with SS Lazio and are representing Nigeria in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Following the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, T.B. Joshua rewarded the efforts of the Nigerian Team, presenting the physically challenged medallists with cash gifts and cars.
Claims of prophecy
SCOAN claims that Joshua has successfully predicted events in the lives of individuals who attend his church services as well as worldwide events, including a prophecy of Michael Jackson's death and the outcome of various football matches, including the recent African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final match, which was won by the Zambia national football team.
Notable visitors, especially within the African political sphere, have visited SCOAN. These include Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills (who testified that T.B. Joshua prophesied his ascent to presidency), South Africa’s Winnie Mandela, Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda and the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
Emmanuel TV is the television station of the SCOAN and broadcasts 24/7. Their Sunday and Monday services, which include the prayer lines, are broadcast live. T. B. Joshua's programmes also air 5 days a week on TBN Africa, as well as weekly on a number of local television stations across Africa. T.B. Joshua has donated televisions to prisons and hospitals so that they will be able to watch the Emmanuel TV broadcasts.[